Well, one morning I was on my way to my pickup truck after work and as I walking towards one of my coworker's pickup truck I could see there was something sticking up in the bed. As I got closer I could see what appeared to be a painting of some sort. I got to the side of his truck and I looked at this beat up work of art and to my astonishment it was a reproduction print of none other than the USS Constitution. I stood there for a moment totally aghast at the condition of this fine work of art and all I could think of was "it’s time now for me to save the ship". I hurried back into the shop and found the owner of the pickup truck and talked with him for a few minutes about the painting. The man found it at the curb for the trash so he stopped and threw it in the back of his pickup thinking he might use the frame for something. I asked him if I could have it so I could restore it to its once glorious state. My coworker said yes and I quickly made my way back outside before he changed his mind. I grabbed the piece by the frame and put it in the back of Maryjane and I was on my way home to see what I was going to need to fix this piece to restore it back to its proper dignity.
It has taken me about three weeks and yesterday I have finally finished this project of restoring this print and the frame. It is a signed and numbered print. The artist’s name is William J. Aylward and the print was made in Switzerland in 1947. I got some professional advice and help from an old friend that I hadn’t spoken to for some time but she knew exactly what I needed and advised me on some simple things I could to preserve this piece. It’s done and it looks fantastic and I am still amazed at the circumstances at which this piece came to me. Once again the USS Constitution has been saved by historically interested people. I haven’t decided where to display this work but I want to put it in a place where it will be seen and appreciated. The piece is worth a couple of bucks but to have future generations learn and understand the importance of such things is much more important to me.
Ay, tear her tattered ensign down!
Long has it waved on high,
And many an eye has danced to see
That banner in the sky;
Beneath it rung the battle shout,
And burst the cannon's roar; --
The meteor of the ocean air
Shall sweep the clouds no more.
Her deck, once red with heroes' blood,
Where knelt the vanquished foe,
When winds were hurrying o'er the flood,
And waves were white below,
No more shall feel the victor's tread,
Or know the conquered knee; --
The harpies of the shore shall pluck
The eagle of the sea!
Oh, better that her shattered hulk
Should sink beneath the wave;
Her thunders shook the mighty deep,
And there should be her grave;
Nail to the mast her holy flag,
Set every threadbare sail,
And give her to the god of storms,
The lightning and the gale!
Oliver Wendell Holmes
Music by [Dr]. William Lardner
[, Chevalier of the Golden Order of Poland (C. G. P.)]